Dato’ Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam

An artist's impression of Dato' Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam. (Source: Wikipedia)

An artist's impression of Dato' Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam. (Source: Wikipedia)

Pandak Lam was a descendant of Daeng Salili (Haji Besar), the son of a Bugis Raja that hailed from Daerah Luwuk in Sulawesi. During the reign of Almarhum Sultan Mudzaffar Shah III, Daeng Salili came to Perak in 1743 and was appointed as a mufti and was bestowed the title Dato’ Maharaja Lela Tan Lela Putera Panchong Ta’ Bertanya.

Like Daeng Salili, Pandak Lam was also made Dato’ Maharaja Lela and had a pivotal role in the fight against British rule in Perak. Pandak Lam planned the assassination of James Wheeler Woodford Birch, the British Resident for Perak, in collaboration with the Orang Kaya-kaya Seri Agar Diraja Dato’ Sagor and Ngah Kandin. The decision for the resistance against British rule was made at a meeting chaired by Sultan Abdullah at Durian Sebatang on May 21 1875, which was also attended by other Perak chiefs, ultimately culminating in the meeting at Belanja on October 1 1875, which consented the Dato’ Maharaja Lela to proceed with the assassination .

Sultan Abdullah and chiefs

Sultan Abdullah and the chiefs of Perak, including Dato' Maharaja Lela and Dato' Sagor. (Source: Google Images)

After Birch’s assassination in Pasir Salak on November 2 1875, Dato’ Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam was pursued by the British and was arrested. He was tried in a court of law presided by Raja (later Sultan Sir Idris I) Dris which ran from December 14 to 22 1876, and was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. He was hung on January 20 1877 in Taiping, along with his collaborators, which included Dato Sagor and Ngah Ibrahim.

One view is that Birch’s assassination was because he outlawed slavery in Perak. Dato’ Maharaja Lela, whose income depended on capturing and selling the indigenes of Perak or Orang Asli as slaves, was then incensed and plotted with some of the slave-traders to kill Birch by spearing him when he was taking his bath in the river.

The more popular view among local historians indicate that Birch was assassinated because of his disrespect to the local custom and tradition, and conflict with local Malay chiefs. He (Birch) was known to be arrogant and disrespectful of even the Sultan of Perak. Some history books noted how he was despised by the Sultan. Dato’ Maharaja Lela is generally celebrated as a folk hero among Malaysians, due to his substantial contribution.

For more information regarding the role of a Dato’ Maharaja Lela in Perak, click here.

1. Wikipedia
2. Sultan Mudzaffar Shah III. Laman Rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak
3. Sultan Abdullah Muhammad II. Laman Rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak


7 thoughts on “Dato’ Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam

  1. Pingback: 13th Sultan of Perak: Sultan Mudzaffar Shah III (1728-1754) « SembangKuala BLOG

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  3. Engku2 editor,

    A little correction.. (i might be wrong) MAHARAJA LELA as stated above should be writen and pronounce in one word “MAHARAJALELA” not “MAHARAJA LELA” coz if that is so then the Maharaja name is lela???..it does not make any sense. The word Maharajalela stands on its own with a different meaning. In my humble opinion it should be written “Dato Maharajalela Pandak Lam”.

    I stand humbly to be corrected..

    KuMuz – Lumut

    • Salam Ayah Muz (I hope you don’t mind me writing the said honorific despite our very small age difference, unless you prefer otherwise 😀 )

      I see your point. I tried googling and the Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia webpage on Pandak Lam spelt it ‘Maharaja Lela’. I do admit it may still be wrong but if you take it in the context of the longwinded titles we have, say ‘Engku Orang Kaya-kaya Indira Mahakurnia Indira DiRaja’ bestowed on Tok Shahriman – this title has 8 words to it, and surely one can tell that none of these words are part of Raja Shahriman Raja Abdul Hamid’s name. Besides, in those days when these titles were conferred, my best guess is that it would have been transcribed in jawi, and since the title ‘Maharaja Lela/Maharajalela’ has been abolished, it may well be difficult to find written sources on how it was spelt. I do admit the road in KL/Ipoh (or if you like the monorail station in KL) is spelt Jalan Maharajalela. Wallahu a’lam.

      If any kind readers can help shed more light in this matter, that’ll be great!


  4. Pingback: Menjunjung duli, bah. 1: Adat-istiadat menerima jawatan dan gelaran bagi Raja-raja | SembangKuala

  5. Pingback: The Dato’ Maharaja Lela | SembangKuala

  6. Dato’ Seri Maharajalela Pandak Lam tidak digantung. Beliau dijadikan khadam di Istana Kg Pisang Batu Gajah hinggalah dibawa ke Kg Tua, Lambor Kanan, Parit oleh seorang yang mengenali beliau sewaktu beliau berkhidmat di Pasir Salak

    Beliau dikahwinkan dan mempunyai anak pinak di sana.
    Silalah berkunjung ke Batu 16 1/2, Kg Tua, Lambor Kanan, Parit, Perak untuk mengetahui cerita selanjutnya.

    Orang yang membawanya ke Kg Tua, lambor Kanan adalah Mat Sait bin Uda Ibrahim yang dilahirkan kira2 di Tahun 1867 dan semasa Perang Pasir Salak, beliau menginap di Kg Biak, Pasir Salak (di rumah bapa saudaranya).

    Sekian, adanya.

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